More and more retailers are seeing the advantages of taking a super-personalized approach to e-commerce.
One company that helps them to do just that, Charlotte, N.C.-based Grocery Shopii, expects big growth in 2023 as a result, said Katie Hotze, the company’s CEO.
In the first wave of grocery e-commerce, many retailers were content to take all of their tens of thousands of brick-and-mortar SKUs and put them on a platform as is, with no real thought to a strategy for how to move them.
The result, Hotze said, was frequently a “miserable shopping experience.” For shoppers with food allergies or other dietary limitations, it was often basically unusable, since the online option didn’t typically include ingredient information.
As they seek ways to refine and personalize those first forays into e-commerce, retailers need to be more strategic, Hotze said. For instance, they need to be aware of generational differences among their customers.
Young shoppers, for instance, don’t look at how many stars a product has online, and they don’t read online comments. They want to find someone they can trust — someone who shares their dietary restrictions, for example — and then buy the foods and try the recipes they recommend. Grocery Shopii, a digital meal planning platform, has users who trust the food influencers on the company’s platform so much, they will add recipes to their shopping lists without even looking at them — the word of the influencer, who they know shares their needs and wants, is good enough.
Grocery Shopii’s platform works by asking retailers to think of a recipe as a bundle that contains all the necessary ingredients to produce a meal. That bundle may contain items from the bakery, meat department, dairy, fresh perimeter, and center store. And it’s where the power of technology can drive bigger baskets and impulse purchases as it simplifies the purchase process by delivering value for the shopper.
A lot of retailers have recipes as part of their e-commerce experience, but the key is to turn recipes more directly into sales.
“Recipes are great for engagement, but we want to get them to the finish line,” Hotze said. “Because if they can do that, shoppers will spend 30% more.”
Grocery Shopii shoppers also come back to a store they like four times more often than regular shoppers, she said.
The company is growing through a major growth spurt now, but Hotze said the Grocery Shopii technology was a hard sell at first for retailers.
“They wanted to see someone else do it first.”
The company’s first retail client was an independent grocer who had seven children — someone, in other words, who needed a quick, easy, customizable approach to meal planning.
“He understood it,” Hotze said. “Our hyper-personal shopping experience takes five minutes or less. We started out with shoppers, helping them personalize their meal planning experience. Now we’re really seeing that switch to grocers, and figuring out how we can be the best merchandising tool for grocers.”
Recipe technology is a “really simple value proposition” for retailers, she added. On their websites, recipes get the most clicks. Taking the next step of connecting those recipes with the right customers can yield big benefits.
It’s also a great way for retailers to prevent waste. If a store can see they’ll have too much ground beef in two weeks, Grocery Shopii can help them find trending recipes featuring ground beef and just a few other ingredients that’s easy to order and make.
E-commerce solutions for independents
The latest innovation from Toronto-based Grocerist, which makes e-commerce profitable for grocers with the first and only grocery-specific e-commerce solution built on Shopify, is an e-commerce fulfillment app that enables independent grocers to cut ties with third-party marketplaces and run their own profitable e-commerce operations.
The new feature is included in the Grocerist platform at no additional cost, is web-based and can be used on any mobile, tablet or desktop device.“ Independent grocers have struggled with e-commerce, with many lacking the resources to build out their own e-commerce presence,” according to Grocerist. “Many turned to third-party marketplaces like Instacart as a result. While these marketplaces did enable grocers to get online quickly, they did so at the expense of customer relationships. Customers transact with the marketplace, not the grocer.”
With Grocerist, grocers can seize back those relationships, easily creating their own e-commerce operations built on the #1 e-commerce platform - Shopify - and leveraging the Grocerist platform for order management, product data libraries, order picking and delivery, and digital marketing services, according to the company.
Unlike generic warehouse order picking apps, Grocerist’s new fulfillment features were designed specifically for the unique needs of grocery e-commerce fulfillment, and informed by grocers frustrated with other solutions. Capabilities include order batching, product substitutions, weight-based pricing adjustments and easy bag label printing.
“Every day, we speak with grocers who are desperate to get off marketplaces and take control of their e-commerce destiny,” said Matt Smith, Co-founder and COO of Grocerist. “Feedback on our new fulfillment app has been overwhelmingly positive - every grocer currently on our platform has plans to use it. Our combination of demand gen plus operations, tailored just for grocery, has struck a chord.”
Grocers are making omnichannel a priority, and you can’t do omnichannel well without an e-commerce presence that you control, Smith added. Grocerist’s new fulfillment app, he said, will play a key role in helping customers improve profitability with a comprehensive omnichannel strategy.